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Syracuse newest No. 1 seed in latest NCAA bracket projection

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Syracuse joins DukeOhio State and Kansas as projected No. 1 seeds in the first of our 2011 weekly bracket projections here at NBCSports.com and Bracketville.  Over the next two months, the Orange figure to battle it out with Pittsburgh, Connecticut, and Georgetown for the Big East title.  The winner will most likely emerge as a top-seed candidate.  Joining Pitt and UConn as two-seeds today are Kentucky and San Diego State. 

Remember, the NCAA tournament now features a new 68-team format. You will notice four matchups in the bracket that represent the First Four pairings. In this bracket the First Four games in Dayton would be … Drexel vs. Virginia Tech | Oklahoma State vs. Cleveland State | Jackson State vs. Sam Houston | American vs. Quinnipiac. The final four at-large teams are paired along with the teams seeded 65-68 on the S-curve.  Winners of these games advance to the Thursday-Friday sites.

Here are a couple of quick reminders … 1) The Bracket projection is not based solely on if the season ended today – particularly regarding predicted conference champions (listed in ALL-CAPS – exceptions being teams such as BYU that often go by an acronym.) The goal is to use the data we currently have and combine it with reasonable expections.  These expectations will change as teams build more complete resumes.  Expect a fair amount of change as we go through the first month of conference play. 2) Seeding is very fluid at this point.   There often isn’t much difference between a six and ten seed (now or in March). 

Note: Records reflect Division I wins and loses.  Games against D-II or D-III teams do not count for NCAA selection and seeding and thus aren’t considered here.

Next Update: Monday, January 10.

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EASTNewark   SOUTHEASTNew Orleans
Charlotte   Cleveland
1) DUKE (13-0)   1) OHIO STATE (14-0)
16) JACKSONVILLE (7-3)   16) HAMPTON (10-3)   
8 Florida (10-3)   8 Louisville (11-2)
9) Baylor (9-3)   9) Florida State (11-3)
     
Tampa   Denver
5) Minnesota (11-3)   5) Kansas State (10-3)
12) OLD DOMINION (9-3)   12) Drexel / Virginia Tech
4) Villanova (12-1)   4) BYU (13-1)
13) OAKLAND (8-8)   13) NORTH TEXAS (11-2)
     
Denver   Charlotte
6) TEMPLE (9-3)   6) North Carolina (10-4)
11) Arizona (12-3)   11) Oklahoma St / Cleveland St
3) Missouri (13-1)   3) Georgetown (12-2)
14) KENT STATE (8-5)   14) CHARLESTON (9-5)
     
Washington, DC   Tampa
7) Wisconsin (11-3)   7) MEMPHIS (11-2)
10) Washington State (10-4)   10) WICHITA STATE (10-2)
2) Connecticut (11-1)   2) KENTUCKY (11-2)
15) PRINCETON (10-4)   15) VERMONT (9-3)
     
SOUTHWEST – San Antonio   WEST – Anaheim
Tulsa   Cleveland
1) KANSAS (13-0)   1) SYRACUSE (15-0)
16) JACKSON ST / SAM HOUSTON   16) AMERICAN / QUINNIPIAC
8 BUTLER (9-4)   8 GONZAGA (9-5)
9) Boston College (11-3)   9) Tennessee (9-4)
     
Chicago   Tucson
5) Illinois (12-3)   5) Texas A-M (11-1)
12) Georgia (11-2)   12) West Virginia (8-4)
4) Notre Dame (12-2)   4) Michigan State (8-4)
13) MURRAY STATE (7-4)   13) UTAH STATE (13-2)
     
Chicago   Tulsa
6) Vanderbilt (11-2)   6) WASHINGTON (10-3)
11) Miami-FL (11-4)   11) St. John’s (9-3)
3) Purdue (13-1)   3) Texas (11-2)
14) COASTAL CAROLINA (8-2)   14) FAIRFIELD (9-3)
     
Washington, DC   Tucson
7) UNLV (12-2)   7) Central Florida (12-0)
10) St. Mary’s (10-2)   10) Cincinnati (14-0)
2) Pittsburgh (13-1)   2) SAN DIEGO STATE (13-0)
15) UC-SANTA BARBARA (5-5)   15) MONTANA (8-4)

 

 

NOTES on the BRACKET: Duke is the No. 1 overall seed followed by Ohio State, Kansas, and Syracuse. The two seeds in order are Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Kentucky, and San Diego State.

Last Five teams in (at large): West Virginia, Drexel, Cleveland State, Georgia, Oklahoma State

First Five teams out (at large): Dayton, New Mexico, USC, Richmond, Rhode Island

Also Considered: Xavier, Northwestern, UCLA, Missouri State, Mississippi, Iowa State, Southern Mississippi, Marquette, Maryland, George Mason, Providence, Portland, Arkansas, Virginia, UAB, UTEP

Bracket adjustments: Bracket actually flowed together without the need for seed-line adjustments. This doesn’t happen very often.

Here is the team breakdown by Conference …

Big East (9): SYRACUSE, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Villanova, Louisville, St. John’s, West Virginia

Big 12 (7): KANSAS, Missouri, Texas, Kansas State, Texas A-M, Baylor, Oklahoma State

Big Ten (6): OHIO STATE, Purdue, Michigan State, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin

ACC (6): DUKE, North Carolina, Boston College, Florida State, Miami-FL, Virginia Tech

SEC (5): KENTUCKY, Vanderbilt, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia

Mountain West (3): SAN DIEGO STATE, BYU, UNLV

Pac 10 (3): WASHINGTON, Arizona, Washington State

Colonial (2): OLD DOMINION, Drexel

Conference USA (2): MEMPHIS, Central Florida

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, St. Mary’s

Horizon (2): BUTLER, Cleveland State

Atlantic 10 (1): TEMPLE

Missouri Valley (1): WICHITA STATE

Auto Bid conference champions … Utah State (WAC), Murray State (OVC), Fairfield (MAAC), Kent State (MAC), Montana (Big Sky), Charleston (Southern), Oakland (Summit), UC-Santa Barbara (Big West), Quinnipiac (NEC), Jacksonville (Atlantic Sun), North Texas (Sun Belt), Princeton (Ivy), Coastal Carolina (Big South), Hampton (MEAC), American (Patriot), Vermont (America East), Sam Houston (Southland), Jackson State (SWAC)

No. 5 Xavier stumbles at Creighton, lose 70-54

Creighton's Cole Huff (13) and Toby Hegner, left, guard Xavier's Jalen Reynolds (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Mo Watson went for a career-high 32 points, seven boards and five assists as Creighton jumped out to an early 21-4 lead and never looked back, beating No. 5 Xavier, 70-54, in Omaha on Tuesday night.

 

It was a massive win for the Bluejays, who still have an outside shot at earning an at-large bid this season. (We wrote all about that here.)

As well as Creighton played, the bigger story here may actually be Xavier, who lost for just the third time this season; they had been the only top ten team with just two losses to their name.

The issue for the Musketeers tonight was two-fold, but they both are a symptom of what could be an issue down the road for this team: Xavier doesn’t really have a true point guard.

They certainly didn’t have anyone to stop Watson. By the second half, they had essentially asked Reynolds, who was playing the middle of their 1-3-1 zone to matchup with Watson. It was weird but was actually somewhat effective.

The Musketeers also started out ice cold from the floor, missing 11 of their first 13 shots, and those misses led to leak outs from Bluejays, who got layups and open threes in transition to build that 17 point lead. Once Xavier got behind, it turned into scramble mode for Xavier. They forced shots early in the clock and didn’t start pounding the ball into the paint until it was too late. What they needed was someone to be able to settle things, to ensure that offensive would get initiated and sets would get executed when they were able to get the lead down to single digits.

That 1-for-19 shooting performance from beyond the arc certainly didn’t help matters, and neither did the fact that they got just nine field goals all game from players not named James Farr or Jalen Reynolds. The most frustrating part for head coach Chris Mack? They had good shots. It wasn’t like Creighton took away everything that Xavier wanted to do.

The kids just had one of those nights where nothing went down.

Those happen.

And when you combine them with a total inability to contain the opposing team’s point guard, what you get is a 16 point loss on the road against a team that was desperate to get a good win.

Gill’s 16, ‘D’ lead No. 7 Virginia past Virginia Tech, 67-49

Lehigh Virginia Basketball
AP Photo/Andrew Shurtleff
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Anthony Gill scored 16 points and No. 7 Virginia turned the tables on state rival Virginia Tech with a 67-49 victory Tuesday night, the Cavaliers’ seventh straight.

Isaiah Wilkins added a career-best 14 points and Malcolm Brogdon had 12 for the Cavaliers (20-4, 9-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). Virginia avenged a 70-68 loss to the Hokies in Blacksburg on Jan. 4 in what rates as their worst performance of the season, and extended their winning streak at John Paul Jones Arena to 17 games.

Freshman Justin Robinson scored 16 points and classmate Chris Clarke had 11 in his first action for the Hokies (13-12, 5-7) since breaking his right foot in late December. Virginia Tech’s top two scorers, Zach LeDay (16.0 ppg) and Seth Allen (14.5), were limited to seven and six points, respectively, in part because of foul trouble.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett said his team wasn’t ready to play when it lost to the Hokies earlier, but they have been surging of late and were focused from the outset. They were credited with assists and 14 of their first 15 baskets and forced 10 turnovers in the first half; they forced just eight in the last meeting of the teams.

For most of the game, the Hokies had more turnovers than field goals.

The Cavaliers led 32-20 at halftime and extended their advantage to 47-29 on a three-point play by Mike Tobey with 12:11 remaining. It capped an 11-4 run for Virginia, during which LeDay was whistled for his fourth foul. On Virginia’s next trip down court, it got the ball to Gill inside and LeDay basically backed off and let him score, quickly earning a spot on the bench.

The Cavaliers’ lead never dipped into single digits again.

The Hokies had just eight turnovers and outscored Virginia 26-6 off turnovers in their first meeting. This time, Virginia Tech had 10 turnovers by halftime and the Cavaliers had already turned them into 15 points. Virginia Tech finished with 16 field goals and 15 turnovers.

Already leading 9-6, Virginia got scoring from eight players in a 23-8 run that spanned about 8 1/2 minutes.

Gill started it with a dunk, Brogdon hit a 3-pointer, London Perrantes had a four-point play and Wilkins finished it with two free throws, giving the Cavaliers a 32-14 lead with 2:06 left in the half. They didn’t score again, and the Hokies closed within 32-20 by halftime.

TIP-INS

Virginia Tech: The Hokies shot 57.1 percent (15 of 26) from the field in the second half of their 70-68 victory against Virginia on Jan. 4. … Virginia Tech’s starting five totaled four points in the first half.

Virginia: The Cavaliers have held four consecutive opponents to 50 points or fewer.

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech plays at No. 12 Miami next Wednesday.

Virginia plays at Duke on Saturday.

Follow Hank on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/hankkurzjr

The AP’s college basketball page: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org